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Girandola: Rome lights up the sky with fireworks for city holiday

Rome celebrates Santi Pietro e Paolo on 29 June.

Rome will light up the sky with a spectacular fireworks display on the night of Saturday 29 June to mark a holiday in honour of the city's patron saints Peter and Paul.

The spectacle, known as the Girandola, will take place over Castel Sant'Angelo at 21.30 on Saturday, a public holiday in the Italian capital.

The 22-minute fireworks display re-enacts a tradition that dates back to the 15th century.

The idea of Michelangelo, perfected by Bernini, the fireworks display was introduced in 1481 and has inspired writers and artists through the centuries including Dickens, Belli and Piranesi.

The best places to view the spectacle include Lungotevere Tor di Nona and the bridges of Vittorio Emanuele II, Sant’Angelo and Umberto I.

The popular event will result in some traffic restrictions and city bus detours in the area, from 19.30, to allow for the crowds.

The history of the Girandola is the subject of a new exhibition at Castel Sant'Angelo, described as "a journey through time with paintings, prints, manuscripts and firework machines".

SS Pietro e Paolo

The holiday marks the liturgical feast in honour of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles, saints Peter and Paul, in a celebration that dates back to ancient Christian times.

The date commemorates the death of the two saints who are said to be buried at the two basilicas bearing their names: San Pietro and San Paolo fuori le mura.

In addition to the fireworks, the annual holiday is also marked with religious procession  at the Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls and an infiorata floral display in front of St Peter's.

The Festa di SS. Pietro e Paolo will result in the closure of many shops, businesses and offices in Rome, as well as the Vatican Museums.

Photo Musei Italiani

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